Grandpap and the Yuletide

Damon Runyon

Whenever it comes on toward Christmas I always get to thinking how much my Grandpap loves this season of the year.

He is a kindly old pappy guy, and he likes to see everybody happy during the merry Yuletide, as my Aunt Margaret calls it, although my Grandpap says it is a hundred-to-one shot she does not know what Yuletide means, and is only chucking a swell when she calls it such.

Anyway a couple of weeks before Christmas my Grandpap is always busier than a bird dog, because in those days Christmas time was always a fairly heavy drinking time back in my old home town, and my Grandpap naturally has to help out in the drinking, as do all good citizens, so that the bartenders and saloon keepers will have an extra merry Christmas.

In fact, next to Fourth of July week, Decoration Day, and just before Thanksgiving, Christmas is one of our very busiest drinking seasons. In fact, some people claim it is the heaviest, although they have no statistics to prove it, as Marshall Dillon and the other authorities who might have these statistics are busy themselves helping out in the drinking and have no time for figures.

Well, anyway, besides assisting in the drinking, my Grandpap has to do other shopping, because he has many presents to buy for his family and others, including old Mrs. Peabody the widow woman who lives up the Arkansaw river here a piece.

Of course, nobody is supposed to know my Grandpap is buying any presents for Mrs. Peabody, as it is a dead secret, but everybody in town knows it, because this is after one of the Grandmaws die, and Grandpap is out to make Mrs. Peabody another one of my Grandmaws.

My Aunt Margaret and everybody in our family is dead against the proposition, saying it is a lot of foolishness for an old pappy guy like my Grandpap to be running around with such notions in his head, but nobody ever yet figures a way to keep my Grandpap from getting married up from time to time, not even himself.

Well, anyway, this business with Mrs. Peabody is going on for some years, and she is not a bad looking old dame, at that, and has plenty of dough, so I do not see that my Grandpap is such a chump as the women folks let on, especially as we can always use dough around our joint.

But it seems that my Grandpap has one objection to Mrs. Peabody, and this is a big dog she has around her place, which is always taking a snatch at my Grandpap’s leg. Naturally my Grandpap is not as spry as he used to be, and he does not care for this snatching proposition a little bit.

So he is always figuring to get rid of this dog, but of course he does not let Mrs. Peabody know it, because it is no cinch she does not think more of the dog than she does of my Grandpap.

Anyway, Christmas is here, and my Grandpap hauls off and buys Mrs. Peabody a nice present for herself in Biggs’ department store. What my Grandpap buys her is a swell silk muffler, which she can wear around her neck when she goes out, which is very seldom.

Then while he is out shopping, my Grandpap thinks about Mrs. Peabody’s dog, and so he buys the dog a present, too. He buys the dog a nice pound of meat, which is certainly very thoughtful for my Grandpap, because it is as good meat as you can find in my old home town. Then my Grandpap fixes the meat up nice with some Rough on Rats, because the idea is to knock the dog off so it will not snatch him any more.

Well, my Grandpap puts the muffler in one pocket, and the package of meat in the other, and then he does a little more shopping around the saloons, wishing one and all many happy returns of the day.

Finally he goes out to Mrs. Peabody’s house to leave his presents, but by this time he forgets which package is which, so he tosses the muffler to the dog without bothering to unwrap it, and leaves the package with the pound of meat for Mrs. Peabody, and comes on home.

When Mrs. Peabody unwraps her package and finds it full of beefsteak, she naturally thinks it is a funny Christmas present, and the chances are she is pretty sore. But Mrs. Peabody is no waster, which is one reason why my Grandpap is so strong for her, so she just naturally cooks old Mister Meat for herself and sets down and eats it.

Well, it is not long before Doc. Butler is on the hop for Mrs. Peabody, and how he yanks her back to life is a miracle, and costs her plenty. As soon as she can talk there is the dickens to pay, because she swears my Grandpap tries to poison her, which is great foolishness, as he is not dumb enough to poison her before he marries her.

My Grandpap goes out to apologize, and the next anybody sees of him Mrs. Peabody’s dog, with a piece of silk muffler around his neck, is running him bow-legged.

Of course it is all off between my Grandpap and Mrs. Peabody, and the Yuletide is not as merry for him as somewhat. It is a very tough break, to be sure, but my Grandpap always says the toughest break he gets is that Mrs. Peabody is so hungry she eats all the meat and does not leave any for the dog.